By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
“How I Work” is one of my favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine as well as via Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work Series, and recently several sales experts (including Anthony Iannarino, Dave Brock and Trish Bertuzzi) participated as well.
Periodically moving forward we will feature a new B2B sales, marketing or business leader here answering what have become the standard “How I Work” questions. You can catch up on everyone we’ve featured thus far in the “How I Work” series here.
This week I’m excited to feature Carol O’Kelley who is an accomplished technology industry executive and is currently the CEO of Atlanta-based Salesfusion. Salesfusion provides marketing automation software to the SMB market. She has held a variety of other executive positions at JDA, Oracle, and Manhattan Associates. Here in her own words is how she works:
Location: Atlanta, GA
Current computers: MacBook Air
Current mobile devices: Vintage iphone 5s, ipad 2.0 with Logitech keyboard
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? For personal, I’m a fan of Yesterday’s Weather, which is aptly named as it describes today’s weather but only in comparison to yesterday’s weather. Yesterday’s Weather helped me finally break the habit of dressing for the warm and sunny weather of my native Florida, only to get outside and realize it’s cool and crisp! And, my family is utterly reliant on Google Calendar. With two working adults and two busy teenagers, everyone in the household lives by the rule, “If it isn’t on the calendar, it isn’t happening!”
For work, I am an enormous fan of Oktopost, which simplifies the management of social publishing. And, of course, we live and die by the data Salesfusion provides us about the effectiveness of our marketing programs and demand gen activities.
What’s your workspace like? Salesfusion is an open environment without individual offices, so I work alongside the rest of the team . My desk is pretty tidy, although I probably have more paper files than anyone else on the team. Part of my thought process has always involved writing or drawing my ideas. When our marketing team sees me pick up a dry erase marker and head to the white board, I hear groans of, “Oh no, she’s got a pen. We’re going to be here awhile.” Some people “think aloud” whereas I “write aloud”.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? After my first child was born, I realized I needed to prioritize and let some things go. So I gave up on a lot of otherwise lovely habits that I found ate up my day – like making the bed, eating lunch, and exercising. I may not be the best role model on a couple of those, but I’d rather have another 20 minutes with my family than a perfectly kept house. I’m also not afraid to feed my family takeout. My mantra is, “I may not have made it, but I made it happen.”
What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else? It is far easier to tell you all the things I do abysmally – dance, sing, bite my tongue, etc. Although I don’t get to do it every day, I am terrific at cracking crab legs. It’s a byproduct of growing up in Florida. And I play a mean hand of gin rummy. On long car trips, we used to play cards in “the way back” of the family station wagon, and playing with older brothers quickly honed my game. I’m also very good at ironing.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager? A ballpoint pen and paper. I’m a classic list maker – for myself, my husband, my kids, my colleagues. Walk into my line of sight often enough, and I might make one for you, too. There is nothing as fulfilling as making little checkmarks next to completed tasks.
What do you listen to while at work? Recently I’ve been sitting in the midst of our Professional Services team so I listen to them talking on the phone with our clients. I love hearing them solve problems alongside our customers, although sometimes I can’t resist passing them a note with a marketing idea I am convinced will work based on having heard only one side of the conversation. If I need to crank out a document, I will put on headphones and listen to Michelle Shocked’s Short Sharp Shocked, which was released when I was a college freshman. I read a Spotify study that says our musical tastes solidify when we’re 33, but apparently mine matured when I was 18. And since the college bands of the day were The Connells, REM, and Drivin’ n Cryin’, I’m ok with my stunted development – at least musically speaking.
What are you currently reading? I studied English Literature as an undergraduate and remain an avid reader, but, between my penchant for novels and love of American biographies, I struggle to finish many business books (in spite of the best intentions). I did enjoy Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, and applaud her for sharing the experiences and lessons of women of our generation with the women setting out today. I consider Leslie Bennett’s The Feminine Mistake required reading for young professional women contemplating decisions about marriage and children, and have recommended it to more women than I can count.
My book club just read Euphoria by Lily King, which is a novel based on a fictionalized Margaret Meade. I was captivated by the strong female lead making a life in tribal New Guinea, where she could pursue a passion for anthropology free of the constraints of 1920s society. I’m anxious to see what Amor Towles is working on as a follow up to The Rules of Civility. Although I enjoyed his short story “Eve in Hollywood”, I’m ready for his next novel. Enough waiting! In the meanwhile, I’m reading David McCollough’s The Wright Brothers. I’m a sucker for American History, and can’t resist the allure of Mr. McCollough’s writing.
What’s your sleep routine like? I am a most excellent sleeper. I swam competitively through college, and learned early on that I require a certain amount of sleep or I’ll end up sick. So I make an effort to get to bed at a civilized hour. I’ve mastered “the fade” – discreetly slipping out of parties and events before anyone notices, and am usually tucked in bed long before coaches turn into pumpkins.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? My father was full of all kinds of pithy advice, including “keep your knees bent,” which is what he said when teaching people to water ski, but I’ve found it applies to all of life. He was also fond of, “Life isn’t fair.” Accepting that helps a person move past the unjustness of a situation, and instead focus on what needs to get done next. I’m not a fan of wallowing in it. I’m more of a get up, dust off, and keep moving type.
My mother always encouraged my sister and me to “get a good education and be able to take care of yourself.” Although my husband and I have a great partnership, I agree an invaluable self-confidence comes from having lived alone, paid my own bills, and the knowledge that I can take care of myself. That is a lesson I intend to pass on to my daughters.
But my favorite advice of all time came from my maternal grandmother, who advised, “Don’t ever learn to cook. That way no man can tell you to go do it.” I actually like to cook, but I include it here because I think her real message is about independence – and that’s a lesson for the ages.
Anything else you want to add? Yes, everyone should learn to type using proper technique – we just do too much of it these days to do it poorly. And, ladies, please stop saying you are bad at math even if you are. A lot of men already assume you are bad at math – please don’t give them permission to believe it.
Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see Truman Capote answer these questions. But he’s dead so that’s not going to happen. Alternatively, I’ll take Safra Catz, who I had the pleasure of observing when I worked for Oracle. She’s brilliant and utterly feminine – an absolute force!